Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans”, are offered by Medicare-approved private companies. Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug (Part D) coverage are referred to as MAPD plans. In many cases, plans require the use of health care providers who participate in the plan’s network and service area for the lowest costs.
These plans set a limit on what you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket each year for covered services, to help protect you from unexpected costs. Some plans offer out-of-network coverage, but sometimes at a higher cost. Remember, you must use the card from your Medicare Advantage Plan to get your Medicare-covered services. Keep your red, white, and blue Medicare card in a safe place because you’ll need it if you ever switch back to Original Medicare.
If you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll still have Medicare but you’ll get most of your Part A and Part B coverage from your Medicare Advantage plan, not Original Medicare.